The Saatchi Gallery hosts 50 years of The Sunday Times Magazine
|NEWS - NEWS ANALYSIS|
The Saatchi Gallery welcomes 50 years of British excellence...
Housing 50 years of thought-provoking content was never going to be easy. Since 1962, The Sunday Times Magazine - a supplement that then owner Roy Thomson summed up with 'My God, this is going to be a disaster' - has pushed boundaries, sparked debate and inspired the masses. Having weaved itself into the rich tapestry of British Journalism, The Sunday Times Magazine continues to captivate its audiences with superlative content and photojournalism, and remains a consummate professional within the broadsheet genre.
So, as the magazine celebrates 50 wonderful years of print, it seems only fitting for said celebrations to be conducted within the walls of an equally refined institution... enter The Saatchi Gallery.
The press release states that the exhibition - which is set to run until Sunday 19th Februrary - will "showcase the work of some of the world's finest photographers who have worked for the Magazine over the years". Furthermore, it will also "highlight the contribution made to the Magazine by renowned writers", with its collection including - but not limited to - the likes of Ian Fleming, Martin Amis and Bruce Chatwin. However, what it fails to mention is just how provocative and iconic this exhibition really is.
Mark Boxer, first editor of the Magazine, famously stated that the Magazine was "not only part of Swinging London, it helped create the 1960s spirit", and one can see why. From its 'Day in the life' feature on Andy Warhol to the powerful still of Malcom X addressing a crowd - inclusive of George Lincoln Rockwell (leader of the American Nazi Party) - the spirit of the 60's simply exudes from this exhibition, a powerful rendition of the joys and failings of the era.
And yet, while the exhibition rings true of this revered generation, its success is demonstrated throughout. With its unfamiliar format and colourful palette The Sunday Times Magazine oozed originality, and while the 60's may have witnessed its birth, future decades enjoyed its maturity.
As the years progressed, so too did its content. The Sunday Times Magazine had set a precedent, one that demanded more with each new addition. Readers and the like had come to expect a certain quality from the supplement and, while this inevitably speared its success, it also put great strain on its workforce, courtesy of its gruelling selection process.
But the magazine spoke for the people, bringing social and political issues to life through its unique delivery, and as such continued to flourish. It drew over a quarter of a million new readers to the paper and soon became a staple of contemporary British journalism, where it remains to this day.
In attendance at the unveiling was Sarah Baxter, current editor of The Sunday Times Magazine, who spoke of her delight in regards to the exhibition. "It's a wonderful exhibition, one that I implore people to come and see. However, trying to narrow 50 years of inspirational content down to just 50 covers was no easy feat"...and it's easy to see why. Each backlit image has a story to tell, holding true to the ideal that a picture is worth a 1000 words. In fact, a number of images left me truly speechless, such was the beauty and simplicity of its contents.
For instance, there are approximately 3,800 heart operations performed Worldwide every year, and the operation has become common practice since its introduction by South African surgeon Christiaan Barnard back in 1967. Nevertheless, this gripping image by Ian Yeomans - published in TSTM back in 1980 - brought new light to what, until then, had been 'just another operation'.
Intellectual property of Ian Yeomans; first published October 19, 1980
The graphic nature of the image spoke more than words ever could, triggering emotions as mixed as you could imagine and generating debate across the spectrum. What's more, it made the operation 'real' - for the common man and woman, the concept of removing ones heart only to replace it with another is just too baffling to comprehend. As such, the picture brought a sense of morality to the operation and overall procedure, educating its audience in the process.
But The Sunday Times Magazine covers weren't always as graphic. Sometimes, they simply shone a new light on a well-known topic or muse. Take, for example, this picture of Daniel Craig:
Intellectual property of Sam Taylor-Wood; first published August 22nd, 2004
Photographed by Sam Taylor-Wood, the image shows a softer, more accessible side of the darkest James Bond to date. Craig, amongst others, were encouraged to break down purely for the benefit of Taylor-Woods lens and did so on request. As a society, we've come to idolise the A-listers of Hollywood, painting them with a 'holier-than-thou' guise which, in more cases than not, is wholly inaccurate.
Images such as these help us to understand that, despite the fame, adoration and global recognition, these people are still, unequivocally, human.
With The Saatchi Gallery charging no admission fee to view the exhibition, I cannot recommend it enough. The images featured are bold, visceral and captivating; the written content is daring and iconic; and the layout is contextually Saatchi.
The gallery is open between 10am and 6pm throughout its duration, but will be closed between the 11th to 14th February. Times+ members, subscribers of The Times and The Sunday Times Magazine are invited to an exclusive event at the gallery on Wednesday, 8th February. For more information, simply head over to www.mytimesplus.co.uk.
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